2016_1 Big data, a Genius engine for efficiency master

Big data: a Genius engine for efficiency

“Legacy” industries such as shipping are rarely thought to be at the vanguard of the digital transformation trend sweeping across all areas of business. But Wärtsilä, with its Internet of Things-based Genius Services, is not only challenging this view but also offering its maritime customers new ways to become more efficient and profitable.


Digital transformation is forcing businesses of all stripes to rethink what their customers value and how to meet those needs.

Until recently, the maritime industry has been left largely untouched by digital transformation, a term which refers to the changes associated with the application of digital technology to all areas of commerce.

The real-time analysis of “big data” (the huge amount of raw information generated by all sorts of machines and systems that can be analysed to reveal trends, spot opportunities, etc.) is a technological innovation, as it can provide new ways of thinking about issues and identifying opportunities. The maritime industry is generating massive amounts of data from vessel operations and other sources, and much of it has not been used efficiently.

“The retrieval of data from equipment is not new – ship owners and operators have been collecting it for years,” says Timo E. Lehtinen, Product Manager of Wärtsilä Genius Services. 

“What is new is the availability of analysis tools. These can make use of the data that is collected to give operators an accurate insight into whether their equipment is operating at its optimum level. A cargo ship typically generates a huge amount of data per day. So it is just a matter of making sense of the data to make educated decisions. It’s a huge step forward for asset performance optimization.”

Wärtsilä’s new suite of Genius Service digital products not only makes sense of the chaos of ‘big data,’ but it also transforms data into an asset performance optimization tool to help customers.

“With these new tools, we’re actually using this huge mass of data more intelligently,” Lehtinen says. “We’re fetching the data, analysing it and then offering something valuable back to the customer so they can make decisions in the field to improve efficiency and save money. Data is used to make real, tangible improvements to the services we offer our clients.” 

The three Wärtsilä Genius product families – Optimise, Predict and Solve – apply the data towards optimising customers’ assets in real-time, improving predictability and helping to solve problems through digital solutions.

Using real-time and historical equipment data, Wärtsilä Genius Services are designed to optimise everything from a single installation’s energy efficiency right up to the management of an entire fleet. The latter is achieved by integrating advanced dynamic voyage planning, ship efficiency advisory services and energy analysis, as well as extensive condition monitoring of the main equipment, into one consolidated solution.

Solutions and services within Optimise are designed to increase the competitiveness and efficiency of a customer’s operations. Optimise solutions will enable, for example, tracking of fuel consumption in real-time and fine tuning the ship’s efficiency to optimal with the help of trim adjustments.

Predict will improve the customer’s asset availability and predictability through lifecycle maintenance. For the customer, this means a clearer picture of a coming maintenance need, meaning that maintenance can be performed based on actual condition and not according to a predefined schedule. 

Solve by Wärtsilä Genius Services will ensure the safety of the customer’s operations and allow them to access instant support whenever and wherever they need it. As part of Solve services, the customer can share their computer screen with Wärtsilä experts on shore.

“The Genius set of services are essentially a new, all-encompassing brand for pre-existing services,” says Lehtinen. “We have been involved in condition-based maintenance (CBM) since 2002. However, we are now at a point where the user interface and usability of data have reached a stage that makes it much more effective.”

The principle of CBM is that, through the use of real-time data analysis, it becomes possible to perform maintenance when it is needed, rather than at regular intervals when it may not be necessary and might even be detrimental to the effective running of a vessel and its equipment. The Predict and Solve product families of Genius are focused on this aspect. 

However, the Optimise products work on increasing efficiency in real-time. 

The Wärtsilä engine efficiency monitoring service (EEMS) works with any four-stroke engine. The service monitors an engine’s efficiency in a standardised (ISO specified fuel oil consumption) way, and supports overhaul and operational decisions.

“When an engine is running,” explains Lehtinen, “many aspects are constantly changing. The ambient air temperature, the humidity, the barometric pressure, the fuel mass, the power and the fuel quality amongst other attributes. The EEMS monitors all of this. These factors all affect fuel consumption, and, if we monitor them, we can drill right down into the engine’s efficiency. If you have an efficiency deterioration because of worn components or poor fuel quality or dirt somewhere, we can detect this and make minute calibrations that can increase engine efficiency by up to 10%.”The other product in the Optimise range is the Wärtsilä propulsive efficiency monitoring service (PEMS), which is a comprehensive high-quality service for any ship with conventional shaft lines. It measures shaft power, thrust and various craft conditions such as different trim, fouling and ambient conditions. It is a self-learning system for all operating conditions that optimises the management of a vessel through continuous validation.

“PEMS is remarkable,” says Lehtinen. “For example, trim is one of the major contributors to a ship‘s efficiency or inefficiency. Your propulsive efficiency can be improved up to 10% by adjusting the trim. PEMS constantly monitors the trim efficiency. The dynamic trim advisory gathers your vessel and ambient-condition data and continuously presents this via the advisory monitor on board. PEMS also helps detect any hull and propeller fouling early on by taking into account the contributory factors. PEMS also indicates if increased propulsion power or thrust needs to originate from the propeller or from the hull and defines the optimal cleaning time based on added resistance, cleaning work expenses, potential savings and known ship-relevant off-hire losses. It’s a comprehensive asset performance optimization tool.”

And it doesn’t just monitor the ship. 

“We also gather data from external stakeholders,” says Lehtinen. 

“For example, we monitor the weather. What is the weather like in the area where the ship is sailing? How high are the waves? What is the wind like? What is the sea salinity or temperature? This gives us external information that our expert analysts can combine to inform the customer.”

Lehtinen adds, “Of course, if you have an integrated Wärtsilä NACOS Platinum bridge in place, you can also see the constant stream of advice that EEMS or PEMS offers, although I think EEMS is more for onsite engine staff, and PEMS is more for technical staff or officers on the bridge.”


With Wärtsilä already a leading contributor to the digital transformation of the maritime industry, where does Lehtinen see the next technological advances for asset performance optimization? 

“I think we will see further integration of products and services that will provide ship owners and operators with even better information with which to make decisions. Our aim is to always improve efficiency, increase revenue and use less fuel.” 

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